Hillary Clinton’s New College Compact: A Two-Generation Approach

Today, nearly 5 million college students in America – over one-quarter of all college students – are parents, combining school with raising their children. These student parents pursue their education because it provides real opportunity. Students who complete a college degree earn on average $570,000 more over their lifetime. This economic benefit lifts not only their own earnings prospects but the future earnings of their children. One study demonstrated that a $3,000 increase in income for low-income parents with young children translates to a nearly 20 percent increase in their children’s future earnings. Yet student parents face many challenges, with greater financial and time constraints than many other students:

  • Student Debt: College students who are parents leave school with an average debt that is 25 percent higher than non-parents. Single parents carry debt that is 37 percent higher.
  • Time Constraints: The demands of parenting mean student parents spend two hours less on average per day on educational activities, impacting performance and completion.
  • Lack of Child Care: Nearly half of student parents attend two-year colleges, yet less than half of all two-year college campuses offer on-campus child care services.

Hillary Clinton’s New College Compact provides child care and scholarships to meet the needs of student parents, ensuring that cost won’t be a barrier for them and debt won’t hold them back:

Increasing Access to Quality Child Care on Campus. Clinton’s plan will dramatically improve access to child care on campus by increasing funding for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program (CCAMPIS) from $15 million to $250 million per year, combined with a compact with states or institutions to match this funding. CCAMPIS, which provides grants for campus-based child care centers that serve low-income student parents, has demonstrated real results in improving the graduation and retention rates of its recipients. By increasing CCAMPIS funds and combining them with a match requirement, we will create 250,000 childcare spaces and see better outcomes for the student parents who need access to childcare to succeed.

Building on Clinton’s decades-long fight for children and families with the SPARK College Scholarship. The Student Parents in America Raising Kids (SPARK) program will award scholarships of up to $1,500 per year, benefiting as many as one million student parents. Recipients can use the awards for costs that create barriers to success, including transportation, emergency financial aid and child care costs. SPARK furthers the New College Compact by asking all actors to step up, with costs shared by the federal government, states and institutions of higher education, as well as philanthropies. Students must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA to be eligible for the scholarship, and states will have the flexibility to tailor the application process and eligibility. The inspiration and basis for SPARK is the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund, which then First Lady of Arkansas Hillary Clinton helped found in 1990 and has awarded nearly 40,000 single parent scholarships and significantly improved the retention and graduation rates of its awardees.

Supporting Student Parents. The New College Compact builds on a range of successful initiatives to boost completion rates for student parents. These include investments in student support programs, counseling to help people enroll in and stay in school, and partnerships with early childhood and social service providers, such as Head Start and Family Resource Centers. The compact also rewards schools that graduate high numbers of Pell recipients, many of whom are student parents. The CCAMPIS program and new SPARK Scholarship are fully paid for by funds in the New College Compact set aside for innovation and completion. Read more here.